Newcastle United forward set to leave the club in January after injury-plagued spell
It seems Santiago Munoz’s spell at Newcastle United won’t have a Hollywood ending after all.
According to reports in Mexico, the 20-year-old is set to return to Liga MX side Santos Laguna in January.
Munoz joined Newcastle in August 2021 as part of an unorthodox 18-month loan from Santos which included an option to buy. The deadline day move garnered plenty of attention as it drew clear comparisons with the 2005 film Goal!
The film centres around a young Mexican footballer named Santiago Munez who moves to Newcastle United to pursue his dream of playing in the Premier League.
But the reality of Munoz’s time at Newcastle hasn’t been quite so glamorous as a hamstring injury prevented the player featuring for Newcastle’s Under-23s side until February 2022. He managed nine appearances for United’s second string side last season, scoring twice.
Munoz has also trained with the first-team and made his non-competitive debut for the club in the pre-season as a 90th minute substitute in a 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao.
But according to reports from Mexican news outlet Record, Newcastle will not be exercising their option to buy the young forward.
Last season, Munoz spoke of his desire to make the move permanent after returning from injury.
“I’m on loan and hopefully it becomes permanent,” he said. “I am enjoying every minute, the fans who come to the club, everything – I am so happy to be here."
This season, Munoz has started just two of Newcastle Under-21s opening five fixtures in the Premier League 2 and Papa John’s Trophy and a first-team call-up seems highly unlikely.
And Under-21s lead development coach Elliott Dickman has admitted that he needs to see ‘a lot more’ from the young Mexican.
"He's one of those players who has to hit the ground running,” Dickman said. “The lad has got some qualities but we do need to see a lot more and the main thing is that he has had some really bad injuries and the length of time he's had out with that makes it difficult to come back.”
In what has unfortunately proven to be little more than a deadline day PR stunt under Mike Ashley’s ownership, Munoz is now set to see out the remainder of his loan before returning to Mexico in the new year.